CHARLESTON, W.Va. ─ In his most eagerly anticipated official action to date, President Donald Trump officially curbed damaging federal regulations on electric power generation in the United States, and the West Virginia Coal Association is singing his praises.
“Never before have we seen a chief executive who has lived up to every promise made to West Virginia,” Coal Association President Bill Raney said about Trump’ executive order turning back the so-called Clean Power Plan from the Obama Administration.
Raney was on hand for today’s signing as a special guest of the Trump Administration.
“We knew more good news was coming out of Washington for us when Vice President Mike Pence told West Virginia during his visit Saturday in Charleston that the war on coal is over,” Raney said. “There is still a lot to do to fix what the previous administration broke for the coal industry, but today is a great day.”
Today’s Energy Independence Executive Order was signed at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was by his side. The order is intended to start the process of turning back the Clean Power Plan rules, which became final in 2016 and were a major contributing factor to power plant and coal mine closures across the country.
“The West Virginia Coal Association stands ready to provide any assistance it can to this brave new administration as it works on air quality rules that are based on reliable science, not ideology, and take into account the economic impact of regulations on states like West Virginia,” Raney said.
The order will require Pruitt to review the CPP program, which cuts carbon emissions from existing power plants 32 percent by 2030. It also orders the Department of Justice to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to abruptly freeze the legal challenge against the Clean Power Plan, effectively ending the government's defense of the carbon program.
The order is also expected to cancel the Climate Action Plan, while instructing federal agencies to review actions that restrict energy production.
The order itself does not have legal force to repeal the Clean Power Plan, but it does send a signal to EPA to begin the process of rulemaking and public comment necessary to rescind it. The administration would then have to prove that the repeal was evidence-based and not arbitrary.